Based on the results of the clinical study conducted by the Institute of Clinical Research (ICR), it is proven that the anti-viral drug, Ivermectin does not prevent severe cases of Covid-19.
In a statement, Health Director-General, Tan Sri Noor Hisham said the Ministry’s Ivermectin study (I-Tech) along with the Institute for Clinical Research, was conducted on 500 patients hospitalised for Covid-19 in Stage 2 or 3.
“The I-Tech study was to see if Ivermectin administered during the first week of illness prevented deterioration to severe Covid-19 stage 4 or 5 among hospitalised patients aged 50 years and above with at least one comorbidity.”
“They were randomly assigned to two groups – namely those who had five-day Ivermectin treatment (0.4mg/kg/day) with standard care and those who had only standard care.”
“The study revealed that those who had Ivermectin experienced three times more adverse events and the most common adverse effect was diarrhoea.” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham explained that there is no difference in the rate of progression to severe stage.
According to the Principal Investigator of the I-Tech study, Dr Steven Lim Chee Loon, Infectious Disease Specialist at Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, Ipoh, there were no significant differences found in terms of ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, symptom recovery, blood parameters and chest x-ray resolution in both groups.
“Based on the outcomes of the I-Tech study, Ivermectin cannot be recommended for inclusion in current Covid-19 treatment guidelines as Ivermectin does not reduce risk of severe illness from Covid-19. The MOH continues with prior advice that Ivermectin only be used within clinical trials settings with monitoring.” Dr Noor Hisham said.
Meanwhile, he said the result of their study is also supported by other larger groups, such as Ivercor-Covid19 from Argentina and Together from Brazil that do not support the routine usage of ivermectin in clinical practice.
He added that the I-Tech team plans to submit the data for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.
With this, they can help provide additional research information for ivermectin studies, including meta-analysis.
“It is hoped that the findings of this social study can help to inform medical practitioners in Malaysia, and also the public – who often ask about the effectiveness of ivermectin in the clinical practice of Covid-19 treatment.
“Until further supportive evidence becomes available, practitioners are cautioned not to recommend Ivermectin, including sharing illegal advertising or sale of Ivermectin for treatment of Covid-19.” Dr Noor Hisham said.